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Don’t play poker with Tyreek Hill.
In an interview with CBS’s Josina Anderson, the Miami Dolphins wide receiver refused to blink or give any clues about the the status of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for Sunday’s Wild Card game.
Literally, he would not close his eyes.
Tagovailoa missed the Dolphins’ last two games after suffering a concussion in the 26-20 Christmas Day loss to the Green Bay Packers. It was the ex-Alabama quarterback’s third concussion scare of the season.
Miami barely squeaked by with a win against the New York Jets, 11-6, Sunday to secure a spot in the playoffs. And the Dolphins did it with rookie QB Skylar Thompson at the helm.
But Hill says Tagovailoa was with the team every step of the way.
“Tua is one of the best teammates that you can have,” Hill said. “Even though it’s not his moment, he’s going to find ways to support you. And all of that energy that he’s given Skylar (Thompson) and all of us is genuine, too. You feel that.”
Finishing 9-8, Hill and the Dolphins earned the seventh and final Playoff seed in the AFC
Before Sunday’s win over the Jets, Miami’s season was on the verge of collapse. The team lost five-straight games after an 8-3 start and almost blew its playoff chances.
The offense showed flashes of greatness this season but was quickly humbled with each injury to the starting quarterback.
When Tagovailoa does play, though, Hill compared the team’s high-powered offense to the Steelers’ former “Triple B’s” — Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. The final member of the Dolphins’ trifecta? Second-year wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.
“If Tua comes back, it’s gonna be something special,” Hill said. “When he’s in there, it’s different. Guys feel that around them. Guys go harder.”
Thus far, the team remains tight-lipped about Tagavoiloa’s status for Sunday’s Wild Card game against the Buffalo Bills. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel did say, however, that there have been no setbacks in his recovery and the QB remains in a positive mindset.
“When he’s cleared to practice, he will practice,” McDaniel said. “Until then, I’m not doing anything.”
And although he’s not blinking when it comes to an update on Tagavoiloa, Hill is perfectly aware of the stakes.
“Really hoping Tua can come out and play with us next week,” Hill said. “If not, guys gotta step up and make plays. Next man up mentality.”
There’s going to have to be a lot of stepping up and a lot of making plays if they want to beat the Bills, who have won seven straight and are dominating in all phases.
Without Tua, it’s likely to be a long afternoon for the Dolphins.